Viewpoint: Rage against the fans

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Pathetic.

That was the student section Saturday night at the St. Mary’s game.

Why? Oh, where to begin…

Let’s start with the name calling. I’ve heard quite a bit in the last two days about what fans were screaming during the game:

“Kill the refs!”

“I’m gonna slash their tires!”

“Worst refs ever!”

(Okay, there’s definitely some truth to that last one. But still.)

…and a healthy amount of profanity that I can’t print here.

And what were St. Mary’s fans chanting while we went off about the refs?

“Worst fans ever!”

I get it. Nobody likes to see their team lose. Who does? But there’s a difference between supporting your team when they’re not doing well and being out for blood. Yes, the refs made a lot of bad calls, but they didn’t make our team miss all those three pointers and free throws. If you have a problem with the score, talk to the people that actually played the game.

The one thing you do not do is cost your team points. The game should be decided on the court, not by the fans.

Sports can get intense, there’s no denying it. I love a good game of basketball as much as the next guy. It’s easy to get caught up in the energy of the crowd and go with it. But, when you start screaming for blood and lose all self-composure, you cross a line.

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf once said, “I have always loved participating in and attending sporting events. But I confess there are times when the lack of civility in sports is embarrassing. How is it that normally kind and compassionate human beings can be so intolerant and filled with hatred toward an opposing team and its fans?”

In the Sermon on the Mount, the Savior spoke of His disciples as “the light of the world.” And what was so special about that light? “A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.” (Matt. 5:14)

As members of the LDS Church, we believe in living a higher standard than the rest of the world. We sign up for that every week we go to church and renew our covenants through the sacrament. Saturday, we fell far below it.

One of the BYU Aims is character building. As President David O. McKay put it, “True education seeks to make … honest men with virtue, temperance, and brotherly love.”

Where was that Saturday night?

Eyes are on us now more than ever. Not just the fact that there’s a Mormon within spitting distance of getting the Republican nomination for president of the United States (though that’s certainly in the headlines more than anything else), but more and more people are becoming aware of who we are.

Let’s face it — there’s a lot to make people pause. Polygamy? Mountain Meadow Massacre? Mark Hofmann? Not exactly an endearing past in every regard. (Although, Stephen Colbert did say we were normal. That’s got to count for something, right?)

A good friend of mine was part of the clean up crew after the game. When he arrived part way through, he was embarrassed at how the fans were acting.

“These people were supposed to be representing BYU and the church. Instead, they acted like the kid that loses Settlers of Catan and throws a fit.”

It’s a game, people. We’re the ones that said we would hold ourselves to a higher standard.

I don’t think it’s too much to ask to live what we believe.

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Marty Twelves is the social media editor at The Daily Universe. This viewpoint represents his opinion and does not neccesarily represent the opinions of The Daily Universe, BYU, its administration or The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

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